Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I600-A - Off and Running

After a little bump in the road (aka -  new job for Dave), our home study needed to be updated with new work info and we weren't able to immediately send our home study and application for the initial child visa requirements right away.

But, we got the new home study in yesterday's mail so this morning was full of filling out more forms, checking them about 15 times to make sure every line was filled out and every box checked.  This of course also entailed more checks being written, too.  BIG ones writing to Homeland security.

We also sent our letter and yes, again, payment to our home state to get our home study state approved, as well.  This form is called an I600-A.  It's an 'Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition'.  We needed to include about 7 very important things in this envelope.

And the instructions said to write in green marker on the cover letter and envelope the word 'Orphan'.  (I struggle with that word, a bit, and felt a bit silly handing the envelope to the postal worker. 
 And of course, she noticed it and brought it up in a whisper as to not draw attention to it.  How does one write the word ORPHAN in thick green marker without attention.  But hey, I'm a rule follower. (Well, I prefer to MAKE the rules, but I can follow them very well, too.)  After paying my $19 for express overnight shipping, I left feeling a whole lot lighter. (And had an amazing visit after over coffee with my wonderful friend and reference letter writing friend, Lori.)

Next steps? Fingerprinting.  Our I600-A will get there by tomorrow at noon.  Within the next couple of weeks (or less??? Positive thoughts, people) we'll get a note with our appointment for FBI fingerprinting, and Dave and I will have to head to Milwaukee for that.  We're crossing off all kinds of steps right now.

And the Monday update call put us at number 11 in the list for girls right now after 2 girl referrals came in last week, but I'm 99% positive that 3 of the people in front of us are in line for either boy or girl, and seeing boys wait is 0-3 months right now, maaaaaaybe they'll get a boy referral first, so that puts us at like number 8. Sortof. THAT is good news.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Once you read this, you'll never NOT know.

If you know me, and I mean really know me, you know that deep in my soul is this longing to help the world's orphans.  It's something that I'm passionate about down to the deepest part of me.  The hungry children, the motherless and fatherless of the world, those living in garbage, those dying of diarrhea from the parasites they got from the water they have to drink.  It is always on my mind.

And thinking about this sort of sadness isn't easy to do! To think about dying toddlers, bloated bellies, child soldiers forced to kill...who wants to do that when we have our own life, country, issues at hand?  And really, we all DO have things on our plates.  We all know neighbors who are struggling.  We all have hit a rocky place in life and have felt the pains that life throws at us. 

We've probably all heard the statistic of the percentage of people living off of $1.00 a day, but we don't really know what that looks like.  We've all seen the images on TV, but they're all 'selling' something, right? How much money REALLY goes to the children.  Maybe some day we'll do some research to see the answer to that question or look for an organization that we feel more comfortable with.

I'm reading a book right now that had a really great chapter that left me with a visual of the reality of the world's hungry.

Imagine getting online today and reading a headline: "100 Jetliners Crash, Killing 26,500".  First, can you imagine? The news would be streaming live, facebook would be lit up, everyone would be in a state of panic.  We'd go to sleep in a fog.

And wake up to this headline, "Again, 100 Jetliners Crash, Killing 26,500"...WHAT!? That can't be right!

Again, the next day, "100 Jetliners Crash AGAIN, Killing 26,500!"  

And again the next day.

And the next.

And every day it happens.

But every day it DOES happen. To children.  Today, 26,500 children died of preventable causes related to their poverty.  Yesterday that many children died, too.  And tomorrow, 26,500 children will die too.

"And even though today we have the awareness, the access and the ability to stop it, why have we chosen not to?"

According to the book I'm reading, (The Hole in the Gospel, Richard Stearns) it's because it's easy to look at them as someone elses kids. Not our own. As the chapter pointed out, we all know that if our neighbor appeared on our doorstep, severely malnourished and on the verge of death, we'd act, fast! Sparing no expense to save his life.  

But these children, the ones actually dying, they're just numbers, statistics, pictures we see online and in the magazines. And it's not because we don't care, it's because we can't fathom what we're seeing. The commercial always ends, we can always change the page or the website and while we're genuinely sad about what we see, it's easy to see it as something far bigger than you.

But the good news is, it's NOT bigger than you.  Well, OK, it IS bigger than you, but you are able to do something.  Don't learn that 26,500 children died today and click away without letting that affect you. 

Another interesting part of the book - specifically for us Americans.  When I think of American and it's power and it's people, I think we're much larger than we really are.  Check this out.  (Again, thank you Mr. Stearns for the following)

The world's population is about 6.7 billion. Holding hands we could circle the globe 250 times. The population of the world is about 22 times as great as that of the United States. Americans only comprise of 4.5 % of the world. 

Out of 100 people globally:
  • 60 would be Asian
  • 14 would be African
  • 12 would be European
  • 8 would be Latin American
  • 5 would be American or Canadian
  • 1 would be from the South Pacific
  • 51 would be male - 49 would be female
  • 82 would be non-white - 18 would be white
  • 67 would be non-Christian - 33 would be Christian
In America, 4.5% of the world, remember, the average daily salary is $105/day ($38,611/year). 40% of the world lives on less than $2.00/day and 15% on less than one.

$1 verses $100.

OK, enough statistics.  That's where it gets easy to say, "Whooa! Must.Check.Out."

So, let's make it easier.  Look in the eyes of one child. ONE child.

One day, I decided enough thinking about sponsoring a child, it was time.  I got the kids, got the laptop and we settled down to pick a child from Compassion .  We wanted a child inbetween the boy's ages - and yes, a boy.  This is who we picked.  Why him?  Why the Superman shirt, of course. ;) His name is Silas, and here, he was 6.  Our large picture, you can see how large his head is for his body, his eyes are sunken in and he looks so very sad. Miles thought he hadn't learned how to smile yet.

 Yet, after only 1/2 a year of sponsoring him, we got a BIG surprise when we got his new pictures.  His 7 year old pictures.  And while I wish I had the full size on here where he is wearing SHOES and SOCKS and the most adorable outfit, see Silas now.
Yep, my little Ugandan kiddo got his smile back.  And his regular shape and even lost some teeth.  Does this make it more real for you?  It sure did for me. And he turns 8 in less than a month and I can't wait to see what a full year as done.  (You don't even want me to tell you how giddy we get when Silas sends us a drawing or a note...) I fully believe we can all sponsor a child. Even if times are tight, there not as tight as $1/day.  In fact, sponsoring a child costs about $1 a day.  Pretty ironic, huh?

No matter what you do tomorrow when you get up -- probably getting the kids off to school, getting up for work, making breakfast for your family or yourself, grabbing down that ready box of cereal and gallon of milk -- just think about the 26,500 kids that won't make it until tomorrow.  And then, once you think of them, don't dismiss those thoughts. Do something.

Africa/Free Digitial Prints

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Should they stay or should they go

...if they go it may be trouble! If they stay it may be double....

Such a dork.

I know, we have so much time time time to decide this, but it's snowing, Dave's home from work, we're bored and we're discussing.

Do the kids come to Korea with us or not.

  • Our world is changing - so is theirs.  They should be a part of it.
  • All of the traveling, pictures, sightseeing we do will be done as a family.
  • Meeting our newest family member will be done as a family.
  • I've been hearing some instances where the new child has an easier transition seeing little people with the big mean parents who are taking her from everything she knows. (Sniff, sniff - more on that later.)
  • It will be a trip of a lifetime! Why wouldn't we want to bring them?
  • 14 hour flight.  They asked us about 27 times if we were almost there on our 4 hour flight to Mexico.
  • Jet lag.  Seoul is 14 hours ahead of us.  It's one thing having Dave and I exhausted to the bone in an unknown territory, but to add in the exhaustion of 2 kids who might be waking up at midnight ready for a meal....
  • Grief of our baby.  Because Korea's children live in foster homes instead of orphanages, they are a family.  A family with a mom, dad and maybe other children.  This child has lived with them and know them as nothing less than their mom and dad.  It's a very sad thing and most often they have such a hard time of it.  Just one recent posting on a Korean forum said her baby cried for 10 hours straight the first night.  
  • Flying home.  If our baby cries the entire flight (hope not, but it has been known to happen!) that will be hard, hard, hard for the boys.
  • Jet lag coming home.  Our kids will miss school for traveling time, and they say that you should expect 1 day for every hour difference to adjust when you get home.  They might find it hard to adjust when we get home and struggle going to school right away.
Then again, another pro of them staying home would be that when we get home and are completely jetlagged, trying to catch up, they will still have their school to get them up and out while we adjust a bit.  But then again, we promised them that if they wanted to stay home, they could miss a few days of school when their sister comes home.

So much to think about.  I want them to go so bad, but I don't know what's best.  I'm not worried about food or sleeping as Seoul is a very modern country and there are many options I know they'll be comfortable with.  And meeting our daughter, their sister, and having them there to be a part of that would be an amazing thing for THEM, too.  A memory they will never ever forget.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Absolutely Perfect!

Did you know how many older kids are waiting for families?  I'm throwing this out there, because I believe that these kids need advocates and there is a little boy that has my heart.  I can't stop thinking about him.

Here's his description:

"He is considered a healthy boy who is outgoing and has a lot of friends. He enjoys going to school and his favorite subject is math. He does a great job in school and has received perfect scores in math, English, and language classes. His caregivers say that even though he is a little behind in school compared to his peers, it is only because he started school late and that he has an excellent memory. He says that he enjoys playing outdoors and that he is the fastest runner in his class. When he grows up, he says that he wants to be a boss so that he can have a lot of money and have other people work for him. He enjoys using the computer for typing and playing games and his favorite animals are cats, tigers, and elephants. He said that his least favorite thing is being told “no” when he wants to do something and when that happens or when he gets upset, he says that he ignores it and finds something else to do. He is tall for his age and he currently lives at the orphanage."

He sounds EXACTLY like my Logan.  OK, maybe minus the 'fastest runner in his class'.  ;)  This kid sounds amazing and his only 'special need' is that he's 9.  A wonderful, smart, focused, motivated 9 year old -- just like my Logan -- without a home, without a family.  And wait until you see his perfect smile.  I want to run to him in China and bring him home!

Could you consider this little man? Consider him in your life or consider telling your friends and family about him for them to consider. Pray for him.  He's perfect and just needs a chance.  Imagine this little boy in school, getting good grades, heading outside to play kickball with the kids at recess, eating lunch with his friends, going to birthday parties, HAVING birthday parties.

Want more info? Email me!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Agency A - Agency B...remember?

Remember when I told you about agency A and agency B - one fast and one slow.  (I can't remember what I said was fast or slow before so for today Agency A is the fast one....)

Due to something really silly and minor that happened in our youth - a ticket - we weren't certain if we were going to be eligible for Agency A, which is really, REALLY strict on just about everything.  While you aren't able to pick what agency you work with, you know right away if you're eligible for Agency A or not.  Period.

It's been killing me not knowing if we're eligible, but we hadn't gotten a contact from our case worker from our agency yet, so I had to just wait until I heard from her.  I got the intro email today, which I immediately replied asking her when she had time if she could give me a quick call.

Call came 2 minutes later. :)  We are eligible for BOTH agency A and B.  Now, we can't pick - more referrals come from agency B than agency A (90% to 10%), but only about 30% of the people on the list are agency A approved.

She also gave me a little bit of advice on our medical checklist to consider, which could open a few more doors for us.

All in all, I'm relieved and finally *FINALLY* feel like I can breath a sigh of relief and know that we're just waiting now.

Oh, and she also told me there is not ONE couple on the wait for boys right now...WOW! Some couple will be very happy when they jump on and get the first little boy referred! Maybe it's YOU! :)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

It's Official - We're on the Waiting List

Our Adoption Agency needs up to 10 working days to review our home study for approval because we used a Social Worker in our state that is independent.  Today is day 7.  I am not good with waiting. ;)  (Hmmm...might sortof be an issue with my adoption from here on out, huh?)

On a Korean adoption forum that I've found, I see all kinds of people who are on the waiting list while they are doing their home study, so I decided to call the agency yesterday to ask if we could get on the wait officially while we're waiting for their social workers to approve.  I didn't get a call back...yet Again, not so good at the waiting.

I got an email from my social worker this morning that said she called to inquire on our home study status and they said they HOPED to get it approved today, but regardless, she said we're officially on the wait!  YIPPEEEEEE!!!

So what does that mean?  As of Tuesday, there were 12 couples waiting for a girl.  I'm not sure what number we'll be, but we will know soon.   Maybe we were put on the official list 7 days ago when there were only10 on the list?  Maybe?

But either way, our wait officially begins today.  Pray the list moves fast and we see progress!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Family for Kirill

For those of you who know me, you know that I'm a researcher.  I dig, dig, dig until I can't find anything else to dig up.  In the world of adoption, I don't think I'll run out of things to dig up.  Around the adoption-blog-world, there is a real-life sad story happening right now. (Well, I'm sure there are more than one, but this one is worth noting.)

How many of you know someone with Downs Syndrome? How many of you look at that person with Downs Syndrome and see them as unworthy of a family. A life outside an institution?  Because that's exactly what one judge in Russia thinks about children with Downs.

A beautiful family saw Kirill's photo listed on a waiting child list as a child available for adoption.  They fell in love with the sweet little blondy with pink glasses and took all of the steps needed to adopt him.  Flew to Russia, fell head-over-heals in love and went to court to finalize the adoption.

And guess what the judge said? Your adoption request is denied. Why? Because he has Downs Syndrome and is not social adaptable for adoption.

You go look at these pictures of Kirill and the people who want to be his mom and dad and tell me how wrong this is. 

There are many people working on Kirill's behalf, and I'm hoping and praying this all works out because the idea that a little guy would be refused a family because an uneducated person who just doesn't understand Downs has the ability to make a ruling such as this breaks my heart.

There was a day of fasting and prayer dedicated to Kirill and the parents who want to adopt him last week, but I've got insider knowledge that God hears our prayers -- every little one.  A big group day isn't needed. ;)